Health Hygiene and Infectious Disease

I am going to start this by say that I am not a doctor, I have had a lot of medical training over the years from different jobs and courses. Most health and hygiene is common sense (washing your hands) but I know most of society seems to be lacking common sense these days which is why I have to write this article. The key concepts are washing your hands, don’t touch your face, use hand sanitizer (if you cant wash your hands) and if you are going to a region that has insect borne illnesses its important to take precautions.


Hand Sanitizers and Washing Your Hands

This is something you should all be doing anyway but since the soap shortage at the beginning of the Corona virus outbreak I am now more skeptical on how many people are actually doing this. There is rinsing your hands and there is washing your hands, HERE is a link how how to do the ladder. Hand sanitizer is a good alternative only if you cant wash your hands. There have been studies that show that hand sanitizer can actually attract some bacteria after it dries and that it is less effective than washing your hands. Not to mention the high amounts of chemical exposure your subjecting your self to if you have to use it regularly. So if you have clean water available and can wash your hands don’t go crazy with the hand sanitizer and just wash your hands.


Don’t Touch Your Face

You’ve been told this since you started getting acne as a kid and never paid any attention after it started to clear up. Then the recent outbreak happened and you started hearing it again. Then once you started paying attention you started to realize how often you actually do touch your face. Unless your skin is broken by a wound or some other opening it actually functions as a great barrier for most bacteria and toxins. Bacteria needs an entrance into your body to actually infect you. This is why you wash your hands before your eat or routinely clean wounds with disinfectant. Touching your face transfers the bacteria and possibly SOME, (I emphasize that word specifically) viruses from surfaces you have touched onto your face where they have greater access to pathways into the human body. These areas like your eyes, nose and mouth are where the bacteria and viruses can actually enter and start to do damage. Most viruses cannot survive on surfaces for very long, that’s why when working an ambulance we were not overly concerned about viruses unless they were air born. The notable exception being Hep C which can live out side the human body on any surface for approximately 6 weeks give or take.



When you’re traveling to and from your destination, whether in the airport or bus stations or just out on the town, avoid cramped and crowded areas whenever possible to lower the chances of getting sick while traveling. This is the basis for the social distancing that we have seen since the corona virus outbreak started. Crowed areas are also targeted by a wide range of criminals and terrorist so its wise to avoid them when you can anyway. The distance keeps any particulates that are coughed into the air from reaching you in a way where they can be inhaled. This is especially effective in large areas or out doors because the particulates are diluted by the larger quantity of air moving around. This wont be as effective indoors especially if a virus is truly airborne.



Masks are a huge topic right now, Should we wear them? Do they really work on viruses? There is some data to support it and some data that doesn’t. A great video that just puts out all the facts with no political bias one way or the other can be found HERE. Its a long video but it is very thorough. Now if masks are mandated by the local government or your employer you have to decide for your self based on your situations. Now here is the rub, Nothing taken to the extreme will ever be good for you. Whether its Drinking Eating sweets, smoking, wearing a mask, using hand sanitizers or neurotically washing your hands. If we try to live in a sterile environment and never come into contact with bacteria and viruses our immune systems break down and become less effective or in some cases completely ineffective. Like a muscle that’s not getting exercised eventually it will atrophy and when you need to use it you wont be able to. We are all adults and can make out own decisions. If you want to wear one wear one if you don’t then don’t. But don’t get in fights with, insult, or assault people who don’t agree with you and be ready to face any consequences that there may be for your choice.



Bugs can spread a number of diseases around the world. Malaria, Zika, West Nile are a few from recent history. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medications but you can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites. The obvious option is bug spray but there is some things that you should know about bug sprays to make sure that you are using the correct kind for your situation. Also this is only one option and I always recommend a multi layer approach when it comes to security whether its from burglars or bugs.

Starting with bug spray make sure that the main ingredient is deet. Some sprays made only for mosquitoes may use other ingredients. Deet however works on both mosquitoes and ticks. Also make sure that the concentrations is at least 20%. You can even find 100% deet sprays. The higher the concentrations the stronger it is and the longer it lasts. There may be some health concern with higher concentrations of deet which is why its harder to find these days but you can still find it and like everything else moderation is key. As long as your relatively healthy, not drinking it and not using it everyday for the rest of your life your body should be able to detox it out with our issues when your back home.

Mosquito nets are another popular option, they are a super fine mesh that lets air in and keeps bugs out. Made to go around your head or around your whole bed. I personally don’t like the ones that go around your head but I will use them with tents or ones that go around your bed. That’s just me.

Covering as much skin as you can is probably the easiest preventative measure. This is not 100 percent as some mosquitoes and other bugs can bite through clothing, just ask an Alaskan about their mosquitoes. But paired with Bug spray this can help a lot. They also make anti bug clothing that is worn as a base layer specifically to stop biting insects. I don’t have a lot of experience with them but I will be testing some in the near future and Ill keep you updated.

We will be covering what to do with with bug bites in a future series on first aide so I wont cover it here. But Ill just say this don’t scratch them!

In Closing

Do wash your hands and don’t touch your face and avoid crowded areas especially when you’re traveling in a region that has illnesses that your immune system is not used to fighting off. If your destination has the risk of bug borne illnesses be sure to bring bug spray and take precautions to avoid bites.

Using the Garmin Fenix 6 Solar for Travel Safety



     I love the Garmin Fenix 6 Solar, there are plenty of reviews out there that deep dive into the watch and its specs and features so I am going to focus on the watch from its travel and safety aspects and benefits.


     The obvious benefit is having a GPS attached to you in case of emergency. The GPS doesn’t require cell service from your phone should you become separated from it. The battery life is great for a smart watch and I get about 20 days on a charge on average.


     The big aspect for safety is a feature called Assistance. Assistance is going to be one of the few “safety apps” that I will recommend but only for a specific situation. Assistance works by having a hotkey set on the watch that when you press and hold it, will notify your emergency contact(s) that you designate in the Garmin app via SMS text that you are in trouble. When they are notified it will send them your GPS location as soon as your watch acquires the satellite connection.


     This will not help you in the moment and does not substitute the need for getting training in self defense, but should for instance you get taken it will give your contact the information needed for the authorities in the area that you are traveling in start the search. It will also allow them to track you as long as you can keep the watch on you.


     As you can probably tell this is going to require that you turn on the GPS access to your watch so that others can see it. This is called LiveTrack  in the Garmin platform. Now provided you set up your phone securely which will be covered in depth at a later date, you can set this up in a relatively private manner

that I will cover at the end to mitigate and data collection that Garmin may

do, though to this point from dealings with them and their policies I have seen no evidence of data collection done in a way that releases personal information. That being said I still make it a point to anonymize my data my self as much as possible.


     For this to work it does require that your phone have cell service as it needs to connect to the app to notify it to send the text message. The text message is sent from a third party number (not your own) This means that you should talk to your emergency contact ahead of time which you should be doing anyway.


     Setting it up requires that you opt in to the LiveTrack. This allows Garmin to send your GPS location to your emergency contact.



You will then need input a name and city/location inside the

assistance settings in the Garmin app. As you can see from my pictures, That can be an initial and just about anything for location.

The name is used in the text message to Identify you in the message to your contact and I have not been able to pinpoint what the location input is used for.



     You will then enter your emergency contacts, which can be a maximum of three who will all receive the emergency text should you press the button. As you can see you can also put as little as an initial to keep your Contacts privacy as protected as possible as well.


     The picture below is an example of what the text message will look like. In this case my watch didn’t have GPS on at the time but is activated when you press the button so when the GPS is acquired it will then send follow up text with your location information. You can see the text justs says “may need help” because of this you should talk to your contacts ahead of time and decide what it means if they get the message ad what they should do.



     You can opt out of LiveTrack at any time and it will shut off the assistance functionality.

My set up


     I always err on the side of privacy when I set up anything so I personally keep the LiveTrack functionality turned off 90 percent of time in my day to day life.

     I will turn on the LiveTrack and set up the assistance each time I am headed on a trip to an area that concerns me enough that I feel the functionality is warranted. I have ahead of time let my emergency contact(s) know that I am setting them up in the app.

     We then cover what it means if they get the message and what they should do. In my case I let them know that If I am going to activate the watch its most likely that I see something coming or that an incident has already happened. This is because if I don’t have time to activate the watch before something goes down I’m not going to waste time trying to activate it. I tell them they should wait 5 minutes and if I havn’t shut it off or contacted them directly to notify the authorities in the area I’m in or a specific number if I want them to contact someone specific.

     Then once I am back from the trip or feel it is no longer needed I will shut off the LiveTrack access to keep any unnecessary access to my GPS location to a minimum.



     Through out my testing I ran into no bugs or miss hap with activating the assistance, the only bug I encountered early on was One time I activated it I couldn’t get it to shut off and had to re set the watch and app. Not going to be a big deal if your wanting the assistance activated.


General Review



     If you are looking for a good review of the Garmin Fenix 6 Solar to look into its other features suck as activity tracking, Compass, and its other outdoor feature I personally used this review from DC Rainmaker to make my decision.

Corona Virus (COVID-19)

I am sure by now everyone has heard the news or seen memes about the corona virus recently. I did some research and thought I would put up a summery here for you guys before some upcoming posts on sickness prevention while traveling and other health related posts.

While the corona virus is potentially a major threat to the world. It was relatively Isolated to one country. But recently it has jumped to other countries, most of those few cases had been traveling in china when becoming infected and returning to their homes. Only a select few cases were contracted from person to person out side of China. I hope that this will not lead to those in charge letting their guard down, but for the moment they seem to be keeping a good handle on it and the virus doesn’t seem to spreading very fast out side of China. There is the current notable exception of Italy which has an increasing spread in the northern parts of the country with 11 deaths on the last report that I had seen.

Some Background

Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely can animal corona viruses infect people and then spread person to person such as MERS and SARS and now with this version of the corona virus.

According to the CDC, the corona virus was the causes of a contagious respiratory infection that lead to the current outbreak in China that started in Wuhan City. As of Feb 26th 2019, Over 78,000 cases have been confirmed and reported from within China with a global total just over 81,000. The virus seems to be spreading from person to person contact mostly from people that have traveled to The Wuhan area at some point. Some person to person spread has occurred outside of China but at a much lower rate and those cases still involved someone who had been traveling to China.

Early on it seemed that many of the patients had a link to a large live animal market but more patients began to come forward that had no ties to the market meaning that the spread was occurring from person to person contact more so then from the animals in the live market. Little is know about the severity of the virus as it seems to hitting everyone differently ranging from mild symptoms in some to death in others with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Inside the United States

Cases have be confirmed inside the United states with person to person transfer but they were recent travelers to China or had direct contact with someone who did. They have returned many United States citizens from countries with outbreaks including the stranded Diamond Princess cruise ship and they remain under quarantine According to the CDC there does not appear to be any spread of the virus in the wild at this time within the United states but that is now only a matter of when not if it starts to spread here.

The United States Government has stopped entry of foreign nationals who have visited china in the last 14 days as well as monitoring returning US citizens and residents who have traveled to China but that are allowed to return to the country.

The Risk

The CDC reports that the risk that the corona virus poses globally and in the United States is High. Specifically because the virus has caused illnesses that in some cases result in death as well as the continued person to person spread within China. The Risk is highest for healthcare providers as they will be some of the first to come in contact with any new infected patients.

Countries with Confirmed Cases

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • Taiwan
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Nepal
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • The Republic of Korea
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vietnam
  • Algeria
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Switzerland
  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Iraq
  • Oman

The CDC has travel advisories in place for 5 countries as of 2/26/20 more info can be found here

Alert Level 3 – Avoid all non essential travel
South Korea
Alert level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions

States with Confirmed Cases

  • Arizona (one case)
  • California (eight)
  • Illinois (two)
  • Massachusetts (one)
  • Washington (one)
  • Wisconsin (one)
    (Additional Patients and confirmed cases have been brought back to the US and are not included in those counts)

Information Resources

WHO Situation Reports

CDC Corona Virus Summery

Introduction to travel preparation

          These posts will be the pre-gaming and equipment posts. Things you should know and do before leaving home such as things you should research about your destination and things you can do to make your life easier such as packing techniques.  You will also find travel related equipment/items and website reviews to help you pick and use the best information and items for your trips. 

Look for posts on:

Travel kits

Medical/survival etc.Everyday carry Items

General travel safety knowledge and tips

Location and trip research

Packing lite

Travel caching

and more